771 - Seize the coals bare-handed
“Niku…” I am already naked on top, just wearing a pareo. I run my hand over my breasts, his eyes stay cool, and I tell myself, he’s taught himself not to see them, out of aversion to my nursing my babies. But it’s also… what if he really is entirely a man for men, like some men are? What if nothing I can do will raise the brandilmoy in him? I tell myself, Don’t be silly. Men are men are men, once they’ve let you get a grip on them, you’ve got them.
I untie my pareo and let it slide down my legs to the floor. His eyes don’t follow it, as if he has no blood in his veins. I try not to think wistfully of Chevenga, who’d already be breathing hard. “Niku…” I lie down, slide over to make space, pat the sheet beside me, making the most intense bedroom eyes I can.
He unties his scarf. I realize I must not be impatient. It could take him a tenth-bead to undress. The pendant, the tunic, the cufflinks, the collar-pins… of course he has to place and fold everything neatly. I am patient. “Niku…” He’s stopped at his belt. If he’s hard, I see no sign.
“Yes, love? What is it?” Just take those off and come closer, and I’ll solve it in an eye-blink.
“There’s… another thing…” His hands fiddle at his belt, but don’t undo it. He still has his gloves on… which gives me an idea. “Um… I hope you won’t be offended by this…”
I set my teeth and ready myself to take a slow breath to the count of ten. “Of course not, I won’t be offended by anything,” I say.
“It’s… um… those diagrams… they didn’t even prepare me… for this. They never showed…” His struggling for the word almost looks like a cat starting on a hairball. “Um… unpurified… anatomy.”
“Oh, Skorsas, is that all? You had me all scared you’d say something offensive! So it’s an undiscovered country to you… don’t you know undiscovered countries are the most interesting?”
“Well, it’s, I mean, um, well—great! I’m glad you’re not offended! Thanks.” He’s so much like a boy, so breathless. It warms me to him. I remember Chevenga’s description of the last night he was in the Mezem, and I find myself wanting to start to dolphin-wiggle in anticipation. I just have to get him to translate that great skill into what a woman wants… which probably means mostly remembering that he has it.
I say, “You may start to discover now, sweet explorer,” and open my legs.
“Aaiigghh!” he goes, throwing his gloved hands over his eyes.
“What!?” I say. “You’re acting like I’ve showed you a monster! Maybe this isn’t going to work.”
“No no, please don’t be offended, Niku, it’s not you, it’s nothing to do with you, it’s just… I know I was taught things that are very different from you, I know I had different tastes bred into me… I’m sorry, it’s not you.” He sits on the side of the bed, hunching with his head in his hands. “Maybe this isn’t going to work.”
“We can’t give up that easily,” I say.
“No, for the sake of Cheng and Kall,” he says. “We should…”
He says “Seize the coals bare-handed” and I say “grab the chamir,” both at once.
He stands up and whips off the belt then yanks down the pantalons and whips off the rest fast. Not looking at me. He’s about as hard as a noodle after a bead’s cooking. Maybe getting him to look and touch and come close to my unpurified anatomy first isn’t the best idea. The start of sexual pleasure always brings men courage… I need to get him going first. “Wait!” I say, when he puts his thumb under the edge of one glove to pull it off. “May I do that?”
He gives me his one hand. “You know, the skin is very sensitive, right there.” I stroke the inside of his wrist, between a tendon and a vein, very gently. He takes in a long deep breath. “Also…” I pull the glove off a bit by the end of the middle finger. “There.” I stroke the middle of his palm-heel, right between the two pads. He lets the breath out slowly. “And there…” I pull the glove off more still, and slip my fingertip delicately up onto the centre of his palm. “Mmm, yes, there.” I circle-stroke that spot. He does a tiny little closed-mouth whimper-yelp, in his throat. “And there…” I pull the glove most of the way off his fingers, and slide my fingertip into the crotch between his forefinger and his middle finger. He squirms, lips between his teeth. Pleasure and fear duel inside him. It’s always that way with Arkans, isn’t it? He turns his head away from me, fear surging. I take his hand with both of mine and flicker-lick his palm with my tongue. “Aiigh!” he whisper-screeches. But he doesn’t pull his hand away, so I tongue-bathe it, finally pulling the glove all the way off and dropping it. His skin tastes faintly of one of the expensive scented soaps he likes, with a suspicion of salty sweat.
“Now can I do the same with the other?” He hands it to me a little bit as if he’s sticking it in flame. But he hands it to me.
This time I peek while I’m doing it. Heh—he’s hard. I want his nipples, each in its circle of fine blond strands of hair. I know they’re sensitive, from seeing and hearing what he does when Chevenga or Kallijas touches them. His head-hair, freed from the practical braid he puts it into except for social occasions, hangs like a wavy golden curtain in front of and behind his graceful shoulders, down to his waist. I want to run my hands through it.
“Mmmmm, Skorsas,” I say. Whoever thought I’d enjoy him this much? I bet you didn’t, Piatsri, after all I’ve written. I do it. His hair is so smooth and soft, like silk. I let the back of one of my fingers brush one nipple as if it’s an accident. “Aigh!” he goes again. Then says, “I’m seizing the coals… let me see your... um, you know, again.